Monday, March 31, 2008

Bambino's SEE and Be SEEN: PULSE NY Version

First of all, thanks so much for all the support and kind words about my first post last week, it’s totally appreciated. As an encore, here is another one about the PULSE art fair. Although, you will have to forgive my English grammar, since English is my 4th language.

I wanted to post some pictures during the Pulse Art Fair, but as many of you know we were very busy and had an amazing successful art fair in NY this year. Even though we had extreme interest and were busy with our artist whose work we brought to Pulse Art Fair, I still had some time to snoop around. I saw tons of interesting work, and was very pleased with quality of work and booths by other galleries.

My best awards his year during Pulse Art Fair is following:

  1. Best support and organized award would definitely will go all team of Pulse, they were amazingly on top of all issues and made the place in few days from simple garage space to well respected and visited, professional space. Every year it’s getting more and more successful because of their hard work
  2. Best solo booth in the Pulse section would definitely go to Catherine Clark's booth with Masami Teraoka ‘s beautiful paintings and prints, with thoughtful curated and obviously very well worked arrangements with placing them. Work from 1974 till present.
  3. Best Impulse booth award is deserved by Morgan Lehman Gallery from New York. Hard work shoes itself, when you looked at their booth with very smart work by their artist John Salvest . My favorite piece was soap piece, which was sold at first day. I was sure that they would do very well with his work, and I wasn’t wrong at the end of Pulse Art Fair. Almost sold out booth, all works went to very good collections.
  4. Best performance would go to Mary Coble’s from Conner Contemporary Art Gallery. It was a pleasure meeting her in person, she is extremely brave artist to do live performance. Unfortunally my batteries died, so I couldn’t take any pictures. But I spent enough time to see how many people were amazed and stopped to watch. I am sure you will see pictures from the performance later at other blogs, because it’s totally deserve a great reviews.
  5. Best installation in a Pulse booth would go to PPOW. Oliver Blanckart's piece was a totally smart and impressive installation. Also, they had the cutest art handlers in their booth. :-)
And here are some of my favorite pieces I saw during the Fair.

One of the most amazing and memorable pieces was Petroc Dragon Sesti's sculpture the booth of
Carrie Secrist Gallery from Chicago.

Beautiful paintings by Laurie Hogin at Schroder Romero Gallery, which I really love love (hint, hint). All her paintings were sold out. And SchroeRo girls couldn’t more than nicer to us, and do not miss their opening this Friday.

And I totally loved the wooden Gucci shoes by Lee Stoetzel from MixedGreens Gallery, whose work I saw first time in the gallery last year and during Year 07 Art Fair in London. Monica and Steve were as usual very nice and helpful to tell me about their artist in their booth.

And it was totally fun to see our friend Andrea from Artrepco Gallery Switzerland. The opening night she was elegant in her South African Dress, I am sure a lot of people must have seen it and saw how beautiful she was in it.

The funny and complicated sculpture by Sarah Anne Johnson at Julie Saul's booth by was also one I really liked. And Vadim Katznelson's painting at Margaret Thatcher's booth is beautiful and colorful.

Also, I must say most of the artist, bloggers, and friends whom we saw during the Art Fair were very supportive and nice, with their sweet short Hello’s and congratulations to our booth. And I especially enjoyed those of you who asked me to post more. It was nice to hear it and thank you all.

I really wanted to put more pictures and more information about more works I’ve seen but even though all dealers extremely sweet and generous with all information about artist, I wouldn’t steal their time during art fair, where it is important to help and pay attention to people who are interested in their booth. And I had to be at our booth as well.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Art Fair Autopilot Syndrome (AFAS)

Do you sometimes find yourself mid-sentence, saying the same thing you've said 38 times today already, wondering to yourself, while your mouth is still moving, how sincere you sound? Do you ever freeze mid-sentence, realizing that what you're so enthusiastically espousing isn't even remotely related to what the person just asked you about and then panic as you can't choose a transition strategy (do you just stop and admit you're exhausted or attempt to go for the clever changeover)? Do you conclude there's really nothing short of offering him scotch that will save you when you've just called an art handler helping you "Sweetie Darling"? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a sometimes sufferer of a rare disorder known as Art Fair Autopilot Syndrome, or AFAS.

Generally caused by 11 continuous hours of struggling to remember people's names, talk intelligently about artwork, and keep your eye out for that curator you simply have to speak to, AFAS can attack without warning. You'll recognize you have AFAS when the little voice inside your head that normally recognizes you're heading down a path of verbal peril and warns you before you make a total ass of yourself instead just announces that "You're on your own now genius."

The only known cure for AFAS is a good dinner with friends, including ample vino, spiced with lots of juicy gossip and laughter. This cure will wear off about three hours in the next day of an art fair, though, so apply liberally.
The PULSE art fair is going well for us so far, I'm happy to report. Above you'll see some installation shots of the booth, as well as friends who helped us celebrate a day of brisk sales and some fantastic placements of work (although they don't really have demon red eyes, that's just our cheap digital camera). It's a very handsome and well produced fair, I must say, and the Pulse Team deserve credit for pulling off an event half again as big as last year that looks twice as good! Thanks guys!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Fairs and Ballast

Q: How many fairs does it take to determine whether the art market's crashing or not?
A: I'll tell you after the contemporary auctions in April.

For now, however, get yourselves a new pair of sneakers, 'cause the fairs, they are a comin' to New York!

Paddy Johnson has a nice round up of where they are, including a map from Artlog, and there's even more info and another map on Art and Art Fairs. So you can't say you don't know where to go. Seriously...I don't want to hear none of that. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we begin installing our booth at the PULSE New York Art Fair (which has moved People! Don't go to the 26th Street Armory. We won't be there. We're at Pier 40 now). We'll be featuring work by Christopher K. Ho with Troy Richards, Cathy Begien, Thomas Lendvai, Yevgeiny Fiks, and Andy Yoder (whose giant Licorice Shoes were also selected as a Special Project for the fair [see image below]).

I have a sweet spot in my heart for Pier 40, as that was one of the locations I hosted my series of guerrilla-style, three-day shows back in the late 90s (it was called "hit & run" [very original, I know]). There's a free Shuttle Bus from The Armory Show that shoots down the West Side Highway in no time at all. Here's the general info on PULSE NY:

Pier 40
353 West Street
(at Houston)

New York, NY 10014

Thursday, March 27 - Sunday, March 30, 2008


March 27
12pm - 8pm
March 28
12pm - 8pm
March 29
12pm - 8pm
March 30
12pm - 5pm

General Admission $15
Discount Admission $10 (for Seniors & Students with valid ID)
Children under 12 FREE

Tickets may be purchased at the door - no advance purchase necessary.
Blogging will most likely be light through the week. Do drop by to say Hi if you're visiting PULSE. And Don't miss the ArtBloggers@ panel discussion on Sunday!

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Making the Most of Your Motivation

In the 15 or so years I've been doing studio visits, I've only encountered an artist knowingly taking on art history head-on in a handful of cases. Whether any of them will actually succeed remains to be seen (as an Israeli artist I know once wisely noted, it can take an artist their entire lifetime to pull that off), but, still, it seems the most clear-cut of motivations to me. What prompts or prods other artists to get their butts into their studios seems to range from it being the place they most want to be (and the thing they most want to be doing) to a messy mix of have-to- want-to- should-have- could-have ambitions and/or dreams.

There's a parallel range of motivation, or lack thereof, prompted by most artists I know to seeing other artists' work (usually in some public exhibition, but not always). Some artists will want to (or feel they should) rush right back to their studio after a gallery-hopping session; others will seek out the nearest wateringhole to wash away the injustice of it all. Still others, it seems, will carefully process the information, tucking away what they saw that intrigued or inspired them, dismissing what didn't, and carrying on as they normally would.

I started to think about the range of motivations for artists, especially in light of seeing other artists' work celebrated, when an artist friend noted that he had just started watching re-runs of Art Star, the reality TV show where hopefuls "vie to impress Jeffrey Deitch, a gallerist known world-wide for his ability to spot up-and-coming talent." I haven't actually seen the show, but Paddy Johnson listed it in her "
Worst of 2006" round-up, noting "Personally, I’d be much more interested in watching an apprentice like show for the world of gallerina’s than I am the next art star search." Indeed, there seems something unsavory about the notion that what motivates an artist is grist-for-the-Reality-TV-mill, but then again, who's to say Rembrandt or Vemeer or Kahlo or Pollock wouldn't have jumped at the chance to participate in such a venture? It's probably a safe bet that Warhol would have been delighted by it.

Whether it was good TV or not, however, is the only true measure of such a venture in the end. It's silly to attempt to translate its relevance into the real world. Except for Carrie Underwood, are any of the American Idol winners doing all that well? Any of America's Next Top Model finalists? And what became of the former Apprentice contestants, other than Omarosa, who's making a career out of being a semi-celebrity? (Yes, it's embarassing to me that I know this much about reality TV.)

If Wilde was right, though, Deitch & Co. should be highly flattered in that plenty of people are attempting to imitate their program. Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker is reportedly working on
an art-based reality show, "that will pit aspiring artists against one another in various artistic mediums. The added wrinkle of a peer critique is sure to produce sweaty palms and flashbacks for art school viewers everywhere." Two weeks ago, I got a call from another producer floating two ideas for art-related programs (one of which at least sounded as if it would take the art seriously, but who knows), and then just last week I got the following e-mailed to me:


Gallery HD and Illuminations Media are looking for two Fearless, Charismatic, Passionate & Informed ARTISTS to take the definitive chutzpah road trip.

Two Artist/Art Racers must cross the US in 40 days, surviving only on Art. Armed with art materials, cameras and a $1 dollar budget, the Artist/Art Racers must “trade” Art for food, shelter and other art -works.

Starting on opposite coasts (one in NYC and one in LA), the Art Racers’ odyssey culminates in a home-city exhibition of all the works they have created and collected along the way. The winner is the Artist/Art Racer who sells/trades the most artwork. Or at least the one who survives.

Looking for great communicators who interact well with all sorts of people and can make smart commentary as life happens. Intelligent, sassy and witty are good too. All participants must live in the New York or Los Angeles areas, be at least 21 years old and a US citizen or legal resident alien.

If this is you, please submit the following:
- recent photo (no older than 6 months)
- bio or resume
- sample of your art (photo reproduction okay)
- short essay explaining why you are an Art Racer
- be sure to include your full name, home city and phone number

Please send all ASAP to:
**Bio/Resume & Essay should be in body of email**
photo attachments okay

ART RACE shoots May 26 – July 11 for appx 40 days on the road + up to 5 add’l shoot days & voice over.

Each Art Racer will receive $20,000 US for participating.

Production Company is Illuminations Media UK

The fact that, among the information they require, what you look like is first tells me everything I want to know about how seriously the art will be treated in this production, but don't let my low opinion of it stop you from auditioning. You may want to strategize on how to transition yourself from the "Omarosa of the Art World" into someone the art world will later take seriously (I'm sure it can be done) before you apply, though.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Bambino's SEE and Be SEEN, Volume 1

Note from Edward_: Bambino's going to be a guest gossip columnist after each Winkleman Gallery opening, giving me a chance to unwind a little and giving him a chance to dish a little. Here's his first post-opening round-up. As background, for those who don't know, Bambino hails from the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan. Show him some love:
Here are some images from the last night's opening. I was involved with Leeza Ahmady and Edward Winkleman in selecting the 7 videos from Central Asian countries (part of the huge Asian Contemporary Art Week in NYC). It was a pleasure and honor to work closely with people who are really interested and supportive of contemporary video work from Central Asia. Leeza is a pro in Central Asian Contemporary Art.

My best dressed award would definitely should go to Leeza. She looked amazing, and all the colors she was wearing were beautiful. But did you know she has a twin sister? We met her sister Leeda for the first time at Sotheby’s last week, during the reception for Asian Week (we thought she was Leeza). That's Leeza on the right.

And check out the guy in back of the picture, whose jacket came out as a monster or something from Star Wars.

Here is another picture of Leeza with two of my favorite people in the Chelsea art world, the Newman Popiashvili Gallery owners, Irena and Marisa (I call them the "NP Girls"). Very talented, supportive, smart and very easy to talk to people. It’s rare to be able to talk with someone and tell them what is on your mind, and have them listen in this business. But they are two such people, and I'm so happy to be close to them. And do we exchange some juicy information when we are alone. (Want to know what? Hint: Learn Russian). Their next opening is next week on 29th; I met their artist briefly the other night; his show looks interesting. NP Gallery always has something new and different from the other galleries, including one amazing and controversial performance in the front of their gallery on the street. Make sure you won't miss any of their other performances in the future.

One of the first people I met during our first bloggers party, and like a lot, is Brent Burket, the writer and creator of Heart as Arena blog. He's always so nice to everyone, always polite and professional. I check his blog regularly, and would highly suggest it to other people. That's him above (and look behind him, there's a little fragment of a video projected on wall).

And there was DRAMA last night, which I can’t really tell you in public here, but thankfully with the help of our Associate Director Max (that's him below, and here's his website [he's also a wonderful artist]) and our new intern Andrea, the rest of the opening went well.

OK, so to finish my first SEE and Be SEEN, let me share my personal DON’Ts During an Opening. Please free to add something else or disagree with me or share your experiences:
  1. Don’t drink your butt off, it’s not a free bar to get drunk only.
  2. Don’t waste glass after glass for another drink, just ask for a refill. I am so Green, and I think everyone should do something simple to save the planet. Sorry if this seems like a stupid thing, but everyone should do something.
  3. Don’t stop and keep somebody for a long conversation.
  4. Keep your negative opinions until after the opening, don’t tell them during the opening. Just try to be supportive, as much you want other people supportive for whatever you do.
  5. Don’t just drop your glass wherever it is convenient for you. Ask for the trash bag if you don’t see it.
  6. Do leave your umbrellas in umbrellas basket on rainy days, and don't take somebody else’s on the way out.
Thanks for reading. Here's one last picture with Leeza, Ed, Leeda and me.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Downside of Depravity: Open Thread

We have an opening tonight and still got tons to do, so I'll keep today's post brief. I did get to read through many of yesterday's comments though...and the ones on the arts education thread. You people are amazing! Thanks for sharing so generously here.

Not much about fine art in the Times this morning, but there was an article about how a British writer was denied entry into the US because he had admitted to heavy drug use and hiring prostitutes (lots of 'em) in his memoir. I know...I know...the irony of the world's largest importer of narcotics and other drugs acting all puritanical at its gates does test one's patience, but there was something the writer noted that I thought makes good food for thought (if not good ammo for a virtual food fight):
[Sebastian] Horsley said he was surprised he was deported, since he had previously traveled to the United States six times, twice to visit relatives in Boston and four times to New York.

“God bless America, land of the free, but sadly not the land of the depraved,” he said. He referred to the recent resignation of Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York, in the wake of revelations that he had frequented prostitutes. “I’m not a politician, I’m an artist,” Mr. Horsley said. “Depravity is part of the job description.” [emphasis mine]
I tend to prefer my artists hardworking AND hardpartying, with an emphasis on the hardworking part, but you know my bias here. Still, I can't help but think perhaps Mr. Horsley's ideas about depravity and artists are somewhat anachronistic. I mean, I know there are certain society types posing as artists (this week anyway) who get gigabytes of press for boorish behavior, substance abuse, and poor hygiene, but that's fashion really. Is it still important for an artist to indulge in debauchery, to be insightful about the human condition? Was it ever?

Consider this an open thread. (And stop by the opening tonight if you can.)

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Occupation of Iraq, Five Years Later: Evidence of "Progress" Cited but Hard to See

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the day the Bush administration decided it had the moral authority to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq, despite the absence of full UN backing, despite opposition from key allies like France and semi-allies like Russia. There's no rational person I know who would want the monstrous Saddam Hussein back in power (were he not brutally executed, that is), but with hawkish US leaders, like McCain and Cheney, competing for relevance in Baghdad (that is, after showing up either secretly or in full armor, demonstrating how dangerous the country remains) and then popping up in a market or meeting on oil profits once the coast was clear to suggest that "progress" is being made and it's been a "successful endeavor," it's clear that 100 years of occupation might be an understatement of their goals.

But five years into this debacle, the signs of progress (and it's always possible to find relatively better conditions when you're in some quarter of hell on earth ["A bombing on Monday evening killed 43 people near the Imam Hussein shrine in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, penetrating one of the most secure perimeters in Iraq." (emphasis mine)]) are constantly countered by signs of regression. Take, for instance, the fact that when its renovations are completed, the National Museum in Baghdad (you know, the one Rumsfeld mocked as insignificant when his breathtakingly incompetent prosecution of the war led to it being violently looted) will NOT reopen to the public for the foreseeable future:
Baghdad's National Museum, a treasure trove of artifacts from the stone age and Babylon to the Assyrians and Islamic art, will not reopen when renovation of two of its galleries is completed in a few months, an official said.


Although there are no fears of renewed looting, the building could become a target for bombers, said Maysoon al-Bayati, a media official at the museum.

"We are afraid of bombings," al-Bayati said in Baghdad. "We are afraid if we open the museum, bombers with explosive belts would come and damage the museum."
But museums are not how Bush and his friends measure progress. No, to them progress is measured not through quality of life, but rather through more liquid commodities:
Speaking to US troops at Balad air base north of Baghdad, Mr Cheney said the US had "no intention of abandoning our friends or allowing this country of 170,000 sq km to become a staging ground for further attacks against Americans".

Mr Cheney then flew to Irbil, capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, where he pressed political leaders to pass long-delayed legislation on sharing Iraq's oil revenues.
Moments ago, President Bush more or less declared victory in Iraq:
Five years after launching the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bush is making some of his most expansive claims of success in the fighting there. Bush said last year's troop buildup has turned Iraq around and produced "the first large-scale Arab uprising against Osama bin Laden."
He shooed away his critics with non-specific claims, continuing to simply ignore the facts:
As of Tuesday, at least 3,990 members of the U.S. military have died in the war, which has cost the U.S. roughly $500 billion. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglizt and Harvard University public finance expert Linda Bilmes have estimated the eventual cost at $3 trillion when all the expenses, including long-term care for veterans, are calculated.

Without specifics, Bush decried those who have "exaggerated estimates of the costs of this war."

"War critics can no longer credibly argue that we are losing in Iraq, so now they argue the war costs too much," he said.
But Bush has himself defined "victory" in Iraq in such terms that undercut his statements today:

As the central front in the global war on terror, success in Iraq is an essential element in the long war against the ideology that breeds international terrorism. Unlike past wars, however, victory in Iraq will not come in the form of an enemy's surrender, or be signaled by a single particular event -- there will be no Battleship Missouri, no Appomattox. The ultimate victory will be achieved in stages, and we expect:

* In the short term:
o An Iraq that is making steady progress in fighting terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency, meeting political milestones; building democratic institutions; standing up robust security forces to gather intelligence, destroy terrorist networks, and maintain security; and tackling key economic reforms to lay the foundation for a sound economy.
* In the medium term:
o An Iraq that is in the lead defeating terrorists and insurgents and providing its own security, with a constitutional, elected government in place, providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region, and well on its way to achieving its economic potential.
* In the longer term:
o An Iraq that has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency.
o An Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic, and secure, where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern themselves justly and provide security for their country.
o An Iraq that is a partner in the global war on terror and the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, integrated into the international community, an engine for regional economic growth, and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region.
So, clearly we are still in the "the short term" stage of victory, as the medium term requires that Iraq be "providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region, and well on its way to achieving its economic potential." I see no signs of that at all. Yet, being still, five years later, with victory, at best, in the "short-term" stage Bush steps out and claims he is "winning" in Iraq.

How many days until that deluded lunatic is out there?


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"I Dream of the Stans: New Central Asian Video" @ Winkleman Gallery (and Other Events You Shouldn't Miss)

OK, so when I said we were too busy to stay long in LA, I wasn't kidding. This week we open up an exhibition we've been working on for over a year (being held in conjunction with Asian Contemporary Art Week [see press release and other ACAW events below]), and next week is the PULSE New York art fair (more on that next week).

During the fairs, I'll also be participating in the ArtBloggers@ panel discussion with Carol Diehl; C-Monster's mysterious author, Paddy Johnson, and Sharon Butler, organized by the equally hard-working Sharon and the panel's moderator Joanne Mattera (more info here).

But first, this Thursday is the opening at the gallery (6-8 pm) of "I Dream of the Stans: New Central Asian Video." I hope you get a chance to stop by. Co-curated by Central Asian expert and independent curator Leeza Ahmady, Murat Orozobekov, and yours truly, the exhibition brings together 7 of the most important artists working in video from the region of the world we affectionately call "the Stans." Here's the PR:

I Dream of the Stans: New Central Asian Video

Featuring recent work by Vyacheslav Akhunov, Rahraw Omarzad, Almagul Menlibayeva, Jamshed Khalilov, Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev, Said Atabekov, and Julia Tikhonova & Rustam Khalfin.

Co-curated by Leeza Ahmady, Murat Orozobekov, and Edward Winkleman

March 20 – April 19, 2008
Opening: Thurs, March 20, 6-8 pm
Gallery Hours: Tues – Sat, 11 6 pm

In conjunction with Asian Contemporary Art Week 2008, Winkleman Gallery is extremely pleased to present I Dream of the Stans, an exhibition of new video by leading contemporary artists in Central Asia and Afghanistan. Co-curated by independent curator Leeza Ahmady, Murat Orozobekov, and Edward Winkleman, the exhibition surveys the range of powerful new works emerging from this often overlooked region of the world. Since the incredible critical acclaim that greeted the first Central Asian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005, contemporary artists from Afghanistan and the former Soviet Republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan have drawn an increasing amount of attention from Western curators, museums and galleries. Most of the newfound attention centers on the remarkably strong single- and multi-channel video works produced in the region, a fact often attributed to the region’s centuries-old traditions of storytelling, street theater, and weaving. I Dream of the Stans brings together works by seven of the area’s most important artists (and teams) including Vyacheslav Akhunov, Rahraw Omarzad, Almagul Menlibayeva, Jamshed Khalilov, Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev, Said Atabekov, and Julia Tikhonova & Rustam Khalfin.

Known for elaborate multi-channel video installations (including a 5-channel piece recently commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago), the husband-wife team Muratbek Djumaliev & Gulnara Kasmalieva (Kyrgyzstan) present their 2006 single-channel piece “Something About Contemporary Nomadism,” in which a steady stream of seemingly bored airline passengers passing through security blithely submit to what would be seen as highly invasive personal searches in other settings. Guards with rubber gloves pat them down, touching their inner legs and backs and chests, while the passengers seem to hardly notice.

In Vyacheslav Akhunov’s (Uzbekistan) video “Cleaner” the artist is seen meticulously cleaning the surfaces of various British national monuments in London with his toothbrush. Akhunov was well-known by his peers as the “official anti-official artist” during the Soviet era, but now continues to tackle ideas of cultural superiority, be it intellectual, spiritual or political. In his videos, the subjects often repeat certain actions or gestures in a kind of circular pattern; from bottom to top, one point to another, or just going round and about - all reminiscent of various forms of Sufi meditations. In “Cleaner” Akhunov reminds us that perhaps our sacredly guarded ideas about culture and its production needs some form of cleansing. He is keen on broadening defined notions and unburdening established authorities by exploring conflicts, which are derivative of culture that in itself is subjective.

Rustam Khalfin (born in Uzbekistan and resident of Kazakhstan), as follower of Russian historical avant-garde and both teacher and theorist of trends in contemporary art and culture, has played an integral role in training younger artists. In his collaboration video with Julia Tikhonova, entitled “Northern Barbarians, Part II: Love Races,” a young couple is making love, nude on horseback, while riding across some desolate woods. Inspired by two series of watercolors from the 18th and 19th centuries (found in the book of “Chinese Eros”) the love scenes are re-interpreted. The term “Northern Barbarians” is a reference the name the ancient Chinese called the wild wanderers they were grateful to have the Great Wall of China separate them from. The video is the reconstruction of an ancient way of making love in a region highly connected to its nomadic past and spirit. Considered a masterpiece, the work exemplifies how Khalfin’s painterly mind is matched by his conceptual vigor for contextual criticism.

Two internationally exhibiting artists also from Kazakhstan, Almagul Menlibayeva and Said Atabakov, address the processes for change and reform in Central Asia with a focus on Asian continental ties and mentality. Said Atabekov is a founding member of the influential collaborative “Kizil Traktor” (Red Tractor). In his video “Neon Paradise,” the artist is dressed in his signature dervish outfit made of an odd mixture of absurd objects, materials and props, including an old Soviet-military jug for water. He is seen sitting like an aberration kneeled in a kind of a prayer position repeatedly bowing his head down towards an automatic double glass door that continues to open and shut as he moves. It is not clear whether the doors open into a corporate building, modern super market, or university. What is clear is that in this noble open-ended manner the artist is deconstructing contemporary realities such as economic and environmental decadence and other technologically driven mass global deliriums.

Almagul Menlibayeva is known as an experimental artist working simultaneously in a variety of media such as painting, performances, installations and videos. Her gorgeously landscaped and peopled videos translate the various dimensions of what she wishes to express about beauty, decor, ritual and spiritual practices. Her primary concern with women and their role in pre -Soviet, pre-Islamic, and even shamanistic and dervish origins is exemplified in her video “Jihad.”

Rahraw Omarzad, an artist and professor at Kabul University, established the Center for Contemporary Art Afghanistan (CCAA). He is the conceptual author of the video work “Opening” in collaboration with his students and members of CCAA. Through CCAA, Omarzad has been actively working with young artists in an effort to foster their sense of independence and individuality. Re-education is therefore a pressing; not only in re-thinking art and its making but in rendering visible the various truths that are buried beneath the piles of media-manufactured issues facing Afghanistan. In this video, a dark screen and a loud consistent banging sound slowly opens to a woman’s sparkling eyes under her “Chadori”. Someone from the outside cuts open a layer of fabric in front of the veiled women, but instead of seeking to come out or to cut off her veil with the scissors, she opts to embroider a beautiful and colorful floral design around the opening with her sensually jeweled and painted hands. The work is a poetic gesture towards woman’s creative role in the world as assigned to her by nature and how the subjects of freedom and limitation are relative to internal attitudes, regardless of how dire the external façade.

Jamshed Khalilov represented Tajikistan at the Central Asian Pavilion in Venice in 2007. In his charming piece “Bus Stop,” each image in a series of photographs of the often highly decorated structures providing shelter for commuters throughout Central Asian countries seems to pause momentarily and then whisk off to the side, as if mimicking the stop-and-start motions of a bus along its route. Often blending Soviet motifs with more ancient and/or Islamic architectural themes and patterns, each of the bus stops is a unique artistic statement even as it serves a public purpose. Sometimes fantastical (one is shaped like the traditional hat worn by natives), sometimes simply beautiful, these now nostalgic structures stand out as oases of expression along the otherwise often desolate roads they punctuate.

For more information, please contact Edward Winkleman at 212.643.3152 or

Winkleman Gallery
637 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
t: 212.643.3152
f: 212.643.2040

Asian Contemporary Art Week
March 15 - 24, 2008

And as if that weren't enough, there are great events all week long all over the city as part of Asian Contemporary Art Week (OK, so you've already missed a few days if you're just tuning in, but there's plenty of great events left), including:


  • 2pm Biennial artist Howie Chen and Mika Tajima in conversation at the Whitney Museum of American Art (945 Madison Ave at 75th St)

  • 6-8pm Cutting Edge Taiwanese Contemporary Art Exhibition opening reception at Taipei Cultural Center(1 E. 42nd St 7th Fl. at 5th Ave)6:30pm Printmaker Tomie Arai will speak at Lower East Side Printshop
    (306 W. 37th St 6th Fl. bet. 8th & 9th Ave)

  • 6-9pm Tamarind Art's opening reception for "Indian Contemporaries" (142 E. 39th St bet. 3rd & Lex. Ave)
THURSDAY, MARCH 20 (Chelsea) night with 16 galleries presenting programs

  • 6-8pm Arario Gallery showcases Korea's newest star Hyungkoo Lee (521 W. 25th St 2nd Fl. bet. 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8pm Bose Pacia* opening reception for new works by Ranbir Kaleka from India (508 W. 26th St 11th Fl. bet. 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8pm Shi Jinsong will talk about his Baby Boutique project at Chambers Fine Art (210 11th Ave 4th Fl. bet. 24th & 25th St)

  • 6-8pm Toshio Iezumi's "Refractivelocity" opening reception at Chappell Gallery (526 W. 26th St Suite 317 bet. 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6:30-8:30pm ChinaSquare Curatorial talk by Robert C. Morgan plus special cocktail reception (545 W. 25th St 8th Fl. bet. 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8:30pm on view at Chinese Contemporary: paintings by Tu Hongtao (535 W. 24th St bet. 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8pm Fay Ku in conversation with curator Brendon MacInnis (M Magazine) at Kips Gallery (531 W. 25th St bet. 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8:30pm Lin Tianmiao and Wu Moonching opens at Mary Ryan Gallery (527 W. 26th St bet. 10th Ave & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8pm Korean artist Hye Rim Lee's solo exhibition on view at Max Lang (229 10th Ave. bet. 23rd & 24th St)

  • 6-8pm Opening reception for renowned painter Byron Kim and Chinese painter Qiu Jiongjiong's exhibition at Max Protetch (511 W. 22nd St bet. 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8pm Atlanta based Korean born Jiha Moon creates a special scroll painting alongside Israeli artist Zipora Fried's solo exhibition opening at Moti Hasson Gallery (535 W. 25th St. bet. 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-9pm M.Y. Art Prospects opening reception for Vietnam based artists and curatorial talk at 7:30pm
    (547 W. 27th St 2nd Fl. bet. 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8pm opening reception at Onishi Gallery highlighting Japanese artists' love for the ephemeral (521 W. 26th St bet. 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8pm "Drishti: Pan- Asian Group Show" will be on view at Sundaram Tagore Gallery (547 W. 27th St bet 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8pm Thomas Erben Gallery opening reception for award winning new media artist Ashok Sukumaran (526 W. 26th 4th Fl. bet 10th & 11th Ave)

  • 6-8pm "I Dream of the 'Stans: New Central Asian Video" opens at Winkleman Gallery co-curated by Leeza Ahmady, Murat Orozobekov and Edward Winkleman (637 W. 27th St bet. 11th & 12nd Ave)
FRIDAY, MARCH 21 (Downtown)
  • 4-8pm 88 Conversations: Studio Opening (13-17 Laight St Suite 26 bet. Varick St & St. Johns Ln.)

  • 6-8pm Cutting Edge Taiwanese Contemporary Art Exhibition opens at The Gabarron Foundation (149 E. 38th St bet. 3rd & Lex Ave)

  • 6:30pm Conversation: Hiroshi Sunairi and Yuken Teruya will talk at New York University (34 Stuyvesant St bet 2nd & 3rd Ave at 9th St)

  • 6-9pm Reception for Pouran Jinchi at Art Projects International*. Conversation starts at 7:30pm (429 Greenwich St Suite 5B bet Laight & Vestry St)

  • 6:30-8pm Kanishka Raja's site specific installation opens at envoy plus 7:30pm artist in conversation (131 Chrystie St bet Delancey & Broome St)

  • 6-8pm Atul Bhalla, Osamu James Nakagawa and Jaye Rhee on view at Sepia International / The Alkazi Collection* (148 W. 24th St 11th Fl. bet. 6th & 7th Ave)

  • 6-9pm Ethan Cohen Fine Arts* opening reception: a survey of best painters from Asia (18 Jay St bet Hudson & Greenwich St)

  • 7-9:30pm Conversation plus Performances by David Abir and Frank Fu at the Rubin Museum of Art (150 W. 17th St. bet. 6th & 7th Ave)

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Good Work if You Can Get It Open Thread

Hell is relative, or so they say. In New York, where very talented artists I know work as construction workers, bartenders, bookkeepers, data entry specialists, proofreaders, and all kinds of other glamorous professions, the notion that the poor Danish artists who've been living off the state, but are now being told they have to teach to earn their way, might strike some as a nice step up. From The Art Newspaper:
Unemployed artists in Denmark should teach in schools instead of just receiving unemployment benefits, the ministries of culture and education have proposed.

Although Denmark has the lowest rate of unemployment in the European Union at 2.7%, graduates from art schools are far more likely to be jobless than the average Dane. [...]

By employing artists as teachers both problems could be partly solved, suggests the government. "We have always had an unemployment rate higher than average and if politicians want to employ arts graduates as teachers, they should do so. But they should not ask us to train students as teachers. That is not our task," Mikkel Bogh, director of the Royal Academy, told The Art Newspaper.
That raises a good question, though. Should art schools prepare their students to teach? My first response to that notion is "of course not, art schools should give them the space and guidance to master the craft of their chosen media [which may not include "craft"] and the courage to go out there and take on art history." But perhaps I'm being unrealistic. Perhaps a course in arts education, presenting artists with a few of the skills they might need to teach one day, isn't such a bad thing. I mean, I know artists who very much want to quit their mind-numbing day jobs and teach art. Does a lack of education education make this more difficult for them? Would graduating from a program known to require arts education as part of its curriculum automatically give them a leg up in competing for opening instructor positions?

Consider this an open thread on arts education, teaching, and the artist lifestyle.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Report on the "California Video" Preview Opening

Bambino and I are back in New York, having too much to do back home to enjoy L.A.'s fine weather for more than a few days. We did get to the beach for a lovely sunset and, of course, had the pleasure of catching up with Cathy at the opening of "California Video." That's Cathy to the right, doing her "I'm pretending you're not taking my picture" pose. :-)

As I don't know how to review exhibitions I only see at an opening reception (and with time-based work in particular, given my wine-induced attention deficit disorder, that would impossible for me), I'll keep my summary to some logistical observations and gossip highlights. For a more in-depth and remarkably fast review of the exhibition, check out Michael Buitron's take on Leap Into the Void.

My initial impressions of the exhibition, though, include the fact that it's beautifully designed. As we're about to install a 7-video exhibition in our space, I was particularly interested in seeing how they solved certain problems. In talking with the curator of the exhibition, Glenn Phillips (Senior Project Specialist at the Getty Research Institute [that's him above with the red tie]), I learned that they had two competing goals with the installation design: presenting each video in so that its particular characteristics were accessible and creating a flow and sequence that facilitated seeing how the works "talked" with one another. Therefore, works with narratives were presented so that the viewer could relax and hear the story, and those that are more ambient were installed to maximize that experience, all the while considering the dialog between and among the works. I was taking ample mental notes through our conversation.

To the right, soaking up the glamor and awesome spread at the reception, are Cathy, yours truly, and Cathy's delightful mom and brother. Shortly after this photo was snapped, I talked briefly with the wonderfully relaxed and pleasant Getty Director, Michael Brand, who told me that, given the nature of much of the work, it was important to the museum that they not over-produce the exhibition. He explained that this was something that can happen quite easily at an institution with as much funding as the Getty. I long for the day when I have to worry about that myself.

Among the other impressive decisions they've made for the exhibition is a bank of kiosks at which you can watch any of the videos in the exhibition. Complete with helpful categorizations and artist's bios, this research tool was incredibly well done. In fact, in his introduction to the massive and gorgeous catalog, Glenn Phillips explains the the exhibition is "envisioned as a reference tool." One of the other cool factors about the kiosks is that they're equipped to let you listen with your own head-set, limiting the odds you'll catch something nasty from a previous visitor (although, I have to admit, that as nice as this feature is, the number of Californians concerned about this was surprising to this New Yorker who can't imagine the germs on a headset come close to approaching those on the poles I touch daily on the subway).

Speaking of Californians, though, Bambino (that's him enjoying a snack and the breathtaking view from the Getty's plaza [you can't quite see it in this photo, I'm afraid]) and I met Michael and Angela, the two lovely owners of Wilshire Boulevard's SolwayJones Gallery, whose artist Jim Campbell had an awesome installation in the exhibition. They were incredibly nice to us and helped make our visit all the more enjoyable. Thanks guys!

UPDATE: You can see excerpts from many of the videos in the exhibition, including Cathy's, at this wonderful online resource the Getty's organized.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Cornucopia of Good Reading on Museums

Just in time for our flight to Los Angeles, The New York Times publishes a special section on museums just jam packed with articles I can't wait to get to, including:
and truly so much more. If you don't normally buy a dead-tree copy of the Times, today might be a good day to treat yourself.

Regularly posting will resume Monday.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Client # 9...Time to Resign

I agree with others that in a country where the President dragged us into a war under false pretenses (we learn today that a Pentagon report being sent to Congress has concluded: "An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network."...this despite Rumsfeld's insistence that "that the United States had "bulletproof" evidence of cooperation between the radical Islamist terror group and Saddam's secular dictatorship") and our men and women in uniform are still being targeted because of the incompetence with which this war was waged, it does seem somewhat silly to focus all this attention on the moral failings of a governor.

I'm not talking about prostitution. Despite what some feel is a crime with real victims, it's obvious to me that prostitution is such a consistent part of human history that moralizing about it is the wrong approach to ending it.

No the moral failing of which I'm very disappointed in Governor Spitzer is an unforgivable arrogance. The notion that, even after he hounded and pontificated to others about their wrongdoings while Attorney General, he could imagine he might deserve to stay in office despite this revelation of possibly criminal "structuring" (i.e., "the intentional structuring of financial transactions involving cash in amounts less than $10,000 for the purpose of avoiding the filing of “Currency Transaction Reports” with IRS and FBI") is an indication to me that he's entirely lost his way.

This is not a case of a blow job by a willing intern that his enemies used to undermine him. This is a case of a man who made a mission out of destroying others who bent the rules, only to then exhibit the kind of mind-numbing audacity that suggests he was corrupted by power in return. Cheating on his wife is his business. Cheating on her with a prostitute, again, IMO, is his business. But his breaking the law is something that makes this affair our business.

OK, so the statute against "structuring" is apparently as arcane as the Mann Act so perhaps Spitzer can argue that these laws shouldn't even be on the books. But given that they were, and given his legacy as a strict enforcer of the law, I can't imagine how he can now think he deserves to stay in power.


Cathy Begien in "California Video" @ The Getty Center

We're heading out to sunny Los Angeles for the opening reception of "California Video" at The Getty Center in a day or so. Posting will be light starting Thursday. As I've noted a few times (so sue me!), we're beyond delighted that gallery artist Cathy Begien's 2004 video "Black Out," was selected for the exhibition. Curated by the exceedingly charming Glenn Phillips, this exhibition promises to set a new standard for how a major institution thinks about, installs, and presents the video art it collects. Since acquiring the Long Beach Museum of Art Video Archive in 2006, the Getty now has one of the largest collections of video of any institution in the world. From the museum's press release:
California Video will feature more than 50 single-channel videos and 15 installations by 58 artists including Eleanor Antin, John Baldessari, Brian Bress, Nancy Buchanan, Chris Burden, Jim Campbell, Meg Cranston, Harry Dodge & Stanya Kahn, Allan Kaprow, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Tony Oursler, Martha Rosler, Jennifer Steinkamp, T.R. Uthco and Ant Farm, Diana Thater, Bill Viola, and William Wegman.
The Getty has compiled a trailer of sorts, including a snippet from Tony Oursler's late 70's "Fish Videos," as a preview. I talked briefly with Glenn in Miami about the installation challenges of a video exhibition this large. He seemed to have it under control, but suggested it was some undertaking.

If you're in the LA area, please do stop in to see the show (or at least Cathy's piece ;-)). As Holland Cotter of The New York Times described it:
The reason to see this first solo show by the San Francisco filmmaker Cathy Begien is an ingenious, surprisingly intense short video called “Black Out.” In it the blindfolded artist delivers an episodic account of a bad-trip, club-hopping night on the town, as friends pop into the frame from the side to hand her drinks and cigarettes and act out parts of the story. When Ms. Begien breaks down toward the end of the film, it’s hard to tell whether she’s laughing or crying. Both responses make sense.


Monday, March 10, 2008

More Evidence of a Shift in the Art Market

No, not from "hot" to "not hot," but rather (as I noted way back when) from Old Masters and even Modern to Post-War and Contemporary. Back in May, I noted, based on several conversations with folks who watch these things closely, that
the best Picassos are already picked over and collectors who want to build a serious collection of high-quality work need to move on to the post-war / contemporary market.
Reports from the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht (the Old Masters art fair) confirm this:

Some fair veterans said that patchy sales did not surprise them because they found the offerings a bit disappointing. “There were not enough star pictures,” said Ian Kennedy, curator of European paintings and sculpture at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo. “Dealers simply can’t find them.”

Apart from the scarcity of undeniably great works, auction houses are muscling into the private-sales turf once dominated by dealers.

This being the heart of old-master country, however, there were a few exceptional examples. Noortman Master Paintings, a Maastricht gallery bought by Sotheby’s two years ago, was showing a Rembrandt self-portrait from 1632 priced at $27.7 million. “It’s the last Rembrandt self-portrait to buy in the world,” said William Noortman, who has run the business since his father, Robert, died last year. [emphasis mine]

Indeed, further evidence that the market is shifting was found in the form of the very first video piece to grace the legendary fair:
In the center of [Huanchof Venison's] booth, in a small darkened room, is “Isolde’s Ascension (The Shape of Light in the Space After Death),” a video by Bill Viola priced at $300,000. While video art is old hat at contemporary art fairs, this is believed to be a first for the European Fine Art Fair. It was the first thing the gallery sold on Thursday.

Harry Blain, a director of Haunch of Venison, said that collectors in other fields like old masters and the 19th century were beginning to migrate to contemporary art. “So this is the perfect arena,” he said.

OK, so I have to fess up. I might have jumped the gun here a little bit. Modern works seem to be still pretty much in play. At least according to this report:
Modern art was plentiful, too. During the last few years the show’s organizers have tried to strengthen the modern and contemporary selection to compete with Art Basel in Switzerland, which is held every June. At Mr. Nagy’s booth, for instance, there were examples of German Expressionist artists who have been all the rage recently. Among the stars were “Woman From Pozzuoli,” a 1925 portrait by Christian Schad priced at $3 million, and an Egon Schiele watercolor “The Dancer Moa,” offered for $4.5 million.
Still the fact that dealers are talking about "the last Rembrandt self-portrait to buy in the world" has to bode well for the Post-War and Contemporary markets.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Let's Check in with the Art Market Death Watch Cheerleaders

OK, so it's clearly not in my best interest to agree with the Art Market Death Watch Cheerleaders (AMDWCs). So take anything I say here with a grain of salt. But a round-up of their latest routines (Give me an "R" ....give me an "E"...give me a "C," "E," "S"...give me another "S"...give me an "I," give me an "O" and an "N") does warrant a bit of discussion and perhaps disagreement.

We'll start with our favorite cheerleader, MAO, who is among the most sincere, if overly excited, on the squad :-)
Well... there's been some record art sales going on in London the last few days... and while to the total sales dollars might be bigger then ever.. prices are really starting to show some real scary weakness. Could this huge art party really be over??
MAO cites the recent ArtTactic report that
About 60 percent of lots in a record series of contemporary-art auctions in London failed to achieve expected prices....

The evening sales at Christie's International, Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury & Co. raised 189.8 million pounds ($378.4 million) in February, the most for a series of contemporary sales in the British capital.

According to London-based ArtTactic's March ``Rawfacts'' bulletin, published today, most items sold for bids (or were left unsold) below or at the lower end of their catalog estimates, indicating that sellers and auction houses' expectations were not being met. These bid prices did not include auction-house fees, ArtTactic said.
This could mean many things, actually, the two most obvious being that 1) the market is cooling down or 2) the auction houses weren't effective in curbing seller's expectations for even higher returns (i.e, their valuations were influenced by past results more than solid appraisals or possibly by insistent sellers they didn't want to disappoint). This would indicate nothing so much as folks got too greedy. Another thing the report doesn't discuss is how the quality of the work being offered at these sales compared with that of previous, higher-performing contemporary auctions.

Another AMDWC we adore, the champion of new art, Mr. Holland Cotter, offers us another possible indicator of where the market stands:
Advertisements for the 2008 Whitney Biennial promise a show that will tell us “where American art stands today,” although we basically already know. A lot of new art stands in the booths of international art fairs, where styles change fast, and one high-polish item instantly replaces another. The turnover is great for business, but it has made time-lag surveys like the biennial irrelevant as news.

Maybe this is changing with the iffy economy. Several fairs, including Pulse in London, have recently suspended operation. And this year we have a Whitney show that takes lowered expectations — lessness, slowness, ephemerality, failure (in the words of its young curators, Henriette Huldisch and Shamim M. Momin) — as its theme.

A biennial for a recession-bound time? That’s one impression it gives. With more than 80 artists, this is the smallest edition of the show in a while, and it feels that way, sparsely populated, even as it fills three floors and more of the museum and continues at the Park Avenue Armory, that moldering pile at 67th Street, with an ambitious program of performance art (through March 23).
The problem with equating the choices in the Biennial with a statement about the market, however, is that the process for choosing the artists began long before the market got so turbulent. More than that, though, you could see a shift away from "high-polish items" in the galleries and art fairs beginning two seasons ago. I discussed this shift with a high-profile New York art critic a while back (not Mr. Cotter), and, whereas I felt it represented a maturing of the market in general (toward more "meaningful," difficult work and away from highly accessible eye candy), he disagreed and said the galleries were, as they always do, following the collectors, who wanted the shift. If he was right, then the Biennial isn't an indication of "Art" turning away from the market at all.

As always, it makes sense to bear in mind that the true impact of any economic downturn hasn't been fully felt in the art market until about 18 months have passed, meaning it's still too early to get an accurate picture. May you live in interesting times, indeed.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Mars Mania

If I were inclined to be suspicious or pay undue heed to conspiracy theories (oh, wait...I am), I might begin to suspect that some secret campaign was underway by the governments of the world to soften up our instinctual xenophobia toward all things Martian. How else do you explain the cosmic coincidence of two high-profile art exhibitions, on both sides of the Atlantic, about Mars?

This side of the pond we have the pending Carnegie International:
Life on Mars, the 55th Carnegie International, explores the important, yet
continually perplexing, question of what it means to be human in the world
today. Each of the exhibition’s 40 artists brings a unique outlook to the
question of humanity’s response to a world in which global events challenge and seem to threaten our everyday existence. Included in the exhibition will be approximately 300 works in diverse media, from painting, sculpture, and drawing to animation, film, installation, and performance.
And over in the UK, as The Guardian reports:
The Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art opens today, and the Barbican has been given a Martian makeover, with lots of copper-coloured metallic strips over the floor and walls. Maybe it's a sort of alien feng shui, or a means of making visual connections between the different works and themes. There's a felt spacesuit in the corner, a sausage in a vitrine, and a painting of George Bush in a cowboy hat, done in the style of Jackson Pollock. It's that kind of show.
OK, so what the hell is everybody smoking? And, more importantly, why aren't you sharing?